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Fugitive County Clerk’s Body Found
September 16, 2008
Investigators say human remains found near a park in Virginia belong to former Missouri Clerk John Dunivan who disappeared last year after he was charged with sexually assaulting a child. Hikers first found a human skull on September 8 in a secluded area close to Hungry Mother State Park in Smyth County, Virginia. A search by Sheriff’s deputies uncovered the rest of the remains the following day.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol said that a passport and other evidence found at the scene were the first indicators the body was likely that of John Dunivan, who went missing more than a year ago. A week after hikers found the scull, dental records confirmed it belonged to Dunivan who was featured on the television show "America's Most Wanted" in April.
Dunivan was 61 when he was charged in July 2007 in neighboring Ripley County with first-degree statutory sodomy involving an 11-year-old girl. He served as Butler County Clerk for 20 years and retired shortly before the felony complaint was filed in neighboring Ripley County alleging first-degree statutory sodomy involving an 11-year-old girl.
Police said that they were closing in on Dunivan after learning he mailed something from Bristol, Va., on July 16, 2007. Four days later, police in Virginia found his abandoned truck along Interstate 81 in Marion, Va. Dunivan's body was found about a mile and a half from where the police recovered his Toyota truck. The truck's Missouri license plates had been replaced with South Carolina ones and some camping gear had been removed from the vehicle.
The Smyth County Sheriff's Office said the skull found there appeared to have a gunshot wound. The remains were found under several layers of brush in what appeared to be a "survivalist-type emergency shelter", with a handgun nearby, the Sheriff's Office said. Wanted posters indicated Dunivan carried two handguns and was considered suicidal.
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